But bringing out the remaining four boys and their coach could take more than one operation, Narongsak warned.
The second phase of a rescue operation has ended for the day, with more than half of the Thai soccer team rescued from the cave.
"Two days, eight Boars", read a Facebook post by the Thai Navy SEALS of the dramatic rescue that began Sunday, more than two weeks after the members of the Wild Boars soccer team were trapped. Rain fell periodically throughout the three days of extractions, but pumping efforts were so successful that the amount of time the boys spent underwater was minimized, officials said.
But he could not confirm if all five would come out today.
"We have more expertise than yesterday", he said. The boys have reportedly yet to meet their families, though a senior official told The Guardian that they could be reunited on Monday night. After they were located deep in the cavern, Decker reached out to one of the officials leading rescue efforts and got authorization to dispatch his team.
The boys and their coach went exploring in the massive Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23 after a soccer practice, and were cut off when a rainstorm flooded the cave.
British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex, on Monday last week.
A source inside the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital where the first four boys are being kept said their condition was "not bad" but doctors were watching for signs of emerging conditions such as hypothermia.
"Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future", he wrote, referring to the "mini-sub" which he has named after the team, the Wild Boars.
Rescuers are moving ahead quickly because they are afraid monsoon rains will completely flood the caves. The evacuation procedure calls for the boys to receive initial medical treatment there before rescuers take them through the remaining stretch of the cave to a field hospital outside, and then transport them by helicopter or ambulance to join their colleagues at the hospital.
The four rescued boys on Sunday had to travel about 2 1/2 miles with oxygen tanks, making their way back to the cave's entrance using a 3-mile rope. Highlighting the extreme dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the oxygen canisters placed along the route to the boys' damp refuge.
Regarding Sunday's rescue, Narongsak said earlier Monday that the healthiest boys were removed first. There was no word on the condition of the fifth boy brought out earlier on Monday.
The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said in a TV interview on Monday morning she believed the boys would be brought out in groups of four.
The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said last week they would bring the fittest people in the group out first.
Pad Krapao is a basil rice meal with stir-fried pork or chicken, topped with a fried egg.
It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Jesada told a news conference. The most unsafe part is the first kilometer, during which the divers and boys are required to squeeze through a narrow, flooded channel.
Among those are United States military partners, British cave diving experts - including the two men who first located the boys a week ago - and rescue workers from Australia, China and other countries.
Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.
"This morning they said they are hungry, and they wanted phad kra pao", he said. More than 1000 journalists from across the world have descended on northern Thailand to report the story. "I can help him with his homework", he said. On top of all the concerns inside the cave, Thailand's rainy season is looming.